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New World for Public Employment in Wisconsin

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downloadJames Archambo, the city administrator for Wauwatosa, Wisconsin said that the city is considering new methods for recruiting and retaining employees, according to the Wauwatosa Now.

“We are looking more like the private sector,” Archambo said.

In past years, “for some of our positions, we were essentially able to just go to other municipalities and compete for the same pool of workers. And now we’re competing in a much larger pool that includes, to a greater extent … the public sector as well as the private sector.”

The city has put out a new pay structure that has merit pay involved. It was done to meet the market rates for the positions within the city.

“It appears that we are seeing at least more people leaving for other employment than we have in the past,” Archambo said. “My only caution is that, from a numbers standpoint, it may be a fluke.”

In 2013, 39 employees left the city employment ranks. This included 22 retirements. These were the highest numbers since 2010 when 27 employees retired and 16 left their posts.

Archambo talked of two types of retirement. There is one where people are completely done working and one where people might have remained in their position if the environment did not change.

“I don’t know with certainty. I suspect that there is some of that going on, where, if they had a multiple-year window of retirement, they may be leaving on the front end as opposed to the back end,” Archambo said.

Archambo said that positions such as secretaries, truck drivers, and accountants are just as employable in the public market as they are in the private market.

“What it boils down to is we have to be more flexible and mindful of what the market is,” Archambo said.

The new pay plan from the city is much more flexible than the previous one.

“We can’t assume that the same benefit package or benefit structure that has worked in the past … is necessarily what is going to work in the future, because many employees we are finding — and there’s a lot of literature that talks about, particularly, millenials — are looking for very different things,” he said.

Archambo said he has noticed more of a preference for flexible work schedules, project-centered work, added time off and a idea of ‘ownership’ of their work instead of things like retirement packages.

Archambo noted that a recruit’s most important characteristic is “that they have a genuine interest of serving the public. You want the person that wants to, not just do a job, they want to fulfill a mission.”

New World for Public Employment in Wisconsin by
Authored by: Andrew Ostler

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